BEIRUT — Cabinet convened at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Grand Serail to tackle an agenda of 21 items, among them a plan to import electricity from Jordan to Lebanon via Syria and several items on transferring funds to ministries.
Here’s what we know:
• The ministers will discuss the terms of the US initiative unveiled in August 2021 to import electricity from Jordan via Syria, which still requires a financing agreement. Two weeks ago, Energy Minister Walid Fayyad said that World Bank financing is “the remaining essential step” before long-awaited electricity supply from Jordan passing through Syria can begin.
• The cabinet will discuss transfers from the budget reserve to the budgets of the following ministries: LL3.5 billion for the Interior Ministry to increase transportation allowances and around LL2 billion for the Health Ministry. The item on transfering money to the Health Ministry, does not indicate how the amount will be used.
• The minister of state for administrative reform will present a plan to digitize public institutions, while the economy minister will present updates on the wheat file.
• Two weeks ago, the president of the bakery owners’ syndicate, Ali Ibrahim, cautioned that bread production and flour distribution would cease “if the necessary funds are not secured [by BDL] for import wheat.” BDL’s tardiness in supplying importers with foreign currency liquidity forced the government to draw from its Special Drawing Rights to finance the import of some essential goods, among them wheat.
• The ministers are also expected to discuss a proposal prepared by the Council for Development and Reconstruction to expand the landfill in Burj Hammoud-Jdeideh. Trash collectors went on strike over the weekend, following the death of their colleague in the Jdeideh landfill, causing garbage to pile up on the streets of Beirut and Metn.